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Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council

Remarks by Eastern Cape Premier Hon. Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane at the Eastern Cape Investment Conference held on November 16, 2022, in Buffalo City Metro.

Published: November 17, 2022

Programme Director/s:

Members of the Executive Council

Mayors of our Municipalities

DG, Heads of Departments and Municipal Managers

CEOs of our Public Entities

Leadership of Organized Business

Captains of Industry

Our Esteemed Investors

Members of the media

Ladies and gentlemen

I hope you feel energized as I am this morning because we are bearing good news to the people of our Province. We are going to announce new multi-billion-rand investments that will take the economic trajectory of our province to new heights. This is a historic day. This is an exciting day. This is a day of celebration.

Before we make the big investment announcement, let me share with you the progressive journey we have traversed to attract investors to our Province. We did not reach this point by waving a magic stick, it is through hard work and sheer dedication of various teams within our Economic Cluster that we meet here to celebrate existing investors and to announce new investors.

Credit should also go to the Private Sector, which continues to grace our province with much needed investment. These investors are our family, they live in our communities and continue to create much needed jobs within our province.

Our journey of attracting investors as this Government began in the winter of 2019, when we tabled our Maiden State of the Province Address for the 6th term with the overarching theme: Building the Eastern Cape we want.

As government we led from the front by investing in socio-economic infrastructure to practically show the private sector our commitment to the cause of growing the provincial economy.

Over the past three financial years which coincide with the tenure of the 6th administration to date, provincial government invested over R22.7 billion on social and economic infrastructure. Over the next three financial years we project that our investment on social and economic infrastructure will have accumulated to R24.6 billion, while the Local Government Sphere will invest R21.5 billion for social and economic infrastructure in our province.

All this infrastructure spending supports provision of education, health, human settlements as well as building new and maintaining the existing transport network in the province. We do this because we appreciate the strategic and catalytic role that public sector investment plays to crowd in private sector investments.

For the first time in the history of our democratic dispensation we set up a R1bn Economic Development Stimulus Fund to stimulate the Eastern Cape provincial economy.

The stimulus fund has enabled strategic initiatives such as the Wild Coast SEZ in Mthatha, Somerset Industrial Park, Aquaculture in Coega, RAFI Beef and Tourism Nature Reserve Upgrades.

Through the stimulus fund we also supported international award-winning films such as Knuckle City, Sew the Winter to my Skin which was nominated for an Oscar Award, and Survivor SA, to mention a few.

We then vigorously pursued SOEs to end their investment drought in our province. Transnet and SANRAL answered our call positively not only with words, but with tangible investments.

Transnet recently announced their bold plan with an injection of R9.1 billion through the capital investment programme for the Central Region ports that comprises a budget allocation of R4.8 billion for the Nelson Mandela Ports (Port Elizabeth Ngqura) and R4.3 billion for the Port of East London.

On the other hand, between 2019 and 2021 Sanral invested R17.7 billion to improve our road infrastructure network including building two of the highest and longest bridges in Southern Africa located here in Pondoland in our Province.

These investments will significantly improve logistics and reduce costs of doing business in our province. A few months ago, I visited the SANRAL construction sites at the Buffalo River Bridge and Belstone/Breidbach interchange in Qonce.

Those projects are progressing without any hustles. That is due to proper social facilitation that was undertaken with stakeholders and communities. I am mentioning this to encourage all partners in this conference to prioritise and invest time and resources to social facilitation. Short cuts on social facilitation lead to unnecessary delays for projects and we’ve learnt this the hard way.

All the public sector investments that I have just shared with you have a combined value of R22 billion. That is just in the period 2019 – 2021.

Ladies and gentlemen this is the clearest indication of a government that puts its money where its mouth is to enable economic growth.

We were quite aware from the onset that to grow our economy and create jobs we would have to attract an unprecedent number of private investors in key sectors of the economy. We achieved that goal.

Our Private Sector partners answered our clarion call with great enthusiasm by investing a combined R7.2 billion in our province in the period 2019 – 2021.

I am not going to mention the individual companies that have invested this combined R7.2 billion on purpose. Some of them are here with us today, I want them to take the shine for their outstanding contribution to our provincial economy. They are the stars of the show today.

I however want to acknowledge the automotive sector for being the backbone of our provincial economy. OEMS and Component suppliers are estimated to employ about 55 000 people in the value chain in our province. Without a doubt this shows the undisputable value of the auto sector in our provincial economy.

Programme Director, I was privileged to be part of the SA Automotive Week Event in Kyalami recently. The power of the automotive industry was in overdrive at that event.

I am also proud to tell you that our province was fully represented, thanks to the effort of the AIDC-EC who made sure that the Eastern Cape was visible and relationships with the industry were cemented for the province. We are fully committed as a province to support the auto industry not only with words but with our actions because the sector gives us results in terms of creating jobs.

In our budget this year we allocated R93.9 million over the 2022 MTEF for AIDC-EC to develop skills for the sector, to support supplier competitiveness and development of panel beaters.

As the auto sector transitions to Electric Vehicles, we will work with the sector to prepare Skills for EVs, infrastructure such as charging facilities and clean energy infrastructure for EVs. We can therefore not have an Investment Conference without investors who are ready to choose the Eastern Cape in the transition to electric cars.

In the current year, we announced 9 additional investors with a combined investment value of R91.86 billion. They are in renewable energy, property development, industrialization and agro processing.

My fellow conference delegates, energy security is critical for economic growth. Lamenting on the challenges of Eskom and loadshedding is not taking us anywhere. We need solutions.

Our Province of the Eastern Cape has excellent wind and solar resources by international standards. Under bid windows 1 to 4, one solar farm and sixteen wind farms have already been constructed in the province, at an estimated investment value of R36.2 billion rands.

The latest addition to our renewable energy investments is the R3 billion Coleskop Wind Farm to be constructed in Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality.

We are relentless in pursuing gas. We are relentless in pursuing oil. We are relentless in pursuing nuclear energy to fire up our provincial economy. Our National Government already agrees that the next nuclear build programme will be in Thuyspunt here in the Eastern Cape Province.

Programme Director, all journeys have ups and our downs and our journey to attract investors is not an exception. The great storm of Covid-19 really affected us as some companies changed their plans to invest because of the uncertainty brought by the pandemic.

We responded to the pandemic by developing the Eastern Cape Economic Recovery Plan to stimulate economic growth and employment creation. The investments we are announcing today are linked to the successful implementation of our provincial economic recovery plan.

One of the lessons that Covid-19 taught us is that partnerships are vital to address socio-economic challenges. As Government, Business and Civil Society we need each other more than we realize.

We must strengthen the bonds we created during the Covid-19 pandemic to achieve greater economic progress.

On that note, let me now make the big announcement that you have all been waiting for. Today, we bring to the people of the Eastern Cape 11 new investors who are joining our provincial economy with a combined investment value of R46.5 billion.

They are Shoprite, Tshedza Pictures, Transnet, Benteler, Sun Farming, Mhlobiso Concrete, Toyota (Material Handling), Sanaha, SAB, SANRAL and Aqora.

We welcome these new investors to our Province. Their contribution will certainly make a huge difference in our provincial economy and create jobs for our people. We implore the host municipalities to take good care of these new investors.

We appeal to our municipalities to offer incentives packages to investors to encourage them to stay and expand their operations. Investors must also be serviced properly with basic services such as clean water, consistent supply of electricity and regular refuse collection. Any lapse in the provision of these basic services negatively affects investors and we can ill afford that.

I wish the new investors all the success in their operations and may they reap great profits to grow their businesses and increase employment numbers in our province. We commit to walk this journey with them and to collectively tackle all challenges along the way. The door of government is always open for you to come in and discuss with us any matters of common interest. The new investments I have just announced take the total value of investments in our province to R168.5 billion for this 6th term of government.

This is a record investment windfall that we have never seen in our province in the 28 years of our democracy. I therefore humbly invite all of you to rise and join me in appreciating with a standing ovation and a solid round of applause both domestic and international investors that have invested in our provincial economy during this 6th term.

Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!!

Now that we have attained this remarkable achievement of attracting R168.5 billion to our province, where do we go from here?

Today, we want to let the DFIs with project finance capacity to know that we have 45 investment projects in our pipeline totaling R305,6 billion with a funding gap of R108,9 billion across all our priority sectors including water, broadband, agriculture, and agro-processing.

We expect the New Development Bank, and the Infrastructure Fund to share with us how they will partner with the Eastern Cape to package this pipeline and for ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank also joining us today to take advantage of our Investment Pipeline as we work to take all 45 projects to bankable feasibility status.

My singular most important mission for this term is to see positive change in the economic landscape of the former Transkei area of our province. We need investments in Magwa-Majola Eco-Estate, the Marine-Tilapia Industry Development, the Cannabis Industry, Agri-Parks, and the Wild Coast SEZ must be realized without delay. We need investments in Warehousing and in call centers because they can create large volumes of jobs. We appeal to our Private Partners to come on board and invest in these projects.

As government we are rolling out socio-economic infrastructure programmes to make the environment conducive for the private sector to invest in the Eastern side of the province. In this regard, the Small-Town Revitilisation Programme, N2 Wild Coast Road Project with two mega bridges, the Wild Coast SEZ that we are building in Mthatha, the planned Mzimvubu Dam and Eastern seaboard development are some of the initiatives we are implementing. The Mzimvubu Dam water project will be implemented from next year, take my word for it.

We commit to strengthen good governance so that every rand in the public purse is used prudently for socio-economic development. I want to commend departments and entities for good progress on audit outcomes and that was echoed by the Auditor General in my meeting with her yesterday. Our resolve is to be responsible and be fully accountable for the public purse.

I know some people are going to ask whether these investments are translating to jobs? My response is in the affirmative.

The investment projects will lead to a significant revenue injection into the provincial economy that will make a positive dent in the provincial GDP. There is a direct relationship between capital expenditure and job creation potential.

We are upping the pace on Skills development and capacity building for SMMEs so that citizens and particularly the youth and SMMEs can take advantage of these opportunities.

Today, as Premier of the Eastern Cape Province I am extremely proud of the investments we have acquired since the beginning of this term. These investments bring sunrays of hope above the Eastern Cape skyline as many of our people will now have jobs. We are not resting on our laurels. We are not complacent. We continue to search for more investors.

Programe Director, and conference delegates; when good work is achieved, it means people have done their jobs. This work would not have been achieved without the support of the provincial administration, led by DG and HODs. I also salute all our teams in our economic development entities led by the CEOs who work tirelessly to win over investments to our province.

All of you colleagues work in a highly competitive South African environment, where there is competition for resources, but you always put your best foot forward for our province. I highly appreciate your collective efforts, let us do more.

I know I am a very difficult person to please. I demand a lot from all of you. That is because I want what is best for the people of this province. I want our mothers, our fathers, our aunts, our uncles, our brothers, our sisters, our cousins, and our children to have a better life here in our province not anywhere else.

To my colleagues in EXCO and in Municipalities, this achievement must spur us on to deliver in all the other mandates that the governing party has given us because they enable investment attraction. Let us re-double our efforts of providing sound, strategic, ethical, and political leadership in government departments and municipalities.

I want to thank the President of our country, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa for supporting our efforts of writing a new economic chapter for the Eastern Cape. Under his leadership our province is receiving the attention it deserves and our mega projects will see the light of day.

Programme Director, conference delegates, and ladies and gentlemen; our progressive journey of building the Eastern Cape we want is moving at lightning speed. We will not waver. We will not falter. We will not fail.

Thank you for your attention, Baie Dankie, Kea Leboha, Enkosi!!!

Ends.

 


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